A Travellerspoint blog

2 Koalas, 3 Kookaburras, and 12 (technically 7) Apostles

A day on the Great Ocean Road

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There are several options if you want to see 'The Great Ocean Road', a famous coastal drive in Victoria. Featuring beautiful coastlines and beaches, limestone cliffs, and even farmlands and rainforests. Ideally, renting a car would be the best to see the road and towns, but this isn't always financially feasible, especially travelling alone. The next option is going with a tour company, I chose Go West Tours.

What I didn't realize was the Great Ocean Road was built by returned soldiers in 1919-1932 and dedicated to those killed during World War I, technically the road is the world's largest war memorial. The road is 243 kilometers (151 miles) and travels from Torquay to Allansford which is near Warrnambool.

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The 14 hour day tour started at 7:30am when the Go West tour bus showed up at my hostel in Melbourne and picked me up. The tour guide Nicky, immediately hopped out of the bus and introduced herself and once we were settled in on the bus we drove around Melbourne picking up a couple more people before heading out of the city. There were a lot of aspects of the tour that I appreciated, but the first thing I noticed was how the guide kept us informed on what we were doing. As we headed out of Melbourne she told us where we were going next and how long it would take, and talked a bit about the surroundings we were driving by.

Our first stop was Bells Beach, and of course my first photograph is of a colorful bathroom!

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Bells Beach is a famous surfing beach, though there was only a couple people out there that morning. Bells Beach has actually been named a surfing recreation reserve and is protected.
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We all hopped back on the bus and were offered candy to hold us over while we headed towards the next stop major stop, a morning tea and cake break.

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We stopped to see if we could find some wild koalas at one point, though they are wild and hard to predict so unfortunately they were all curled up high in the trees and hard to see. There were some beautiful birds there though too.

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Nicky took the opportunity to stop at several lookout points along the road, when they weren't crowded with other buses, and even drive by pictures came out well. While we were driving, Nicky had an ipod playlist with music that coincided with what we were doing. There was surfing music (Beach Boys and others) while we were near Bells Beach, and then driving along songs that had lyrics about winding roads and a beautiful sunny day (luckily it was just that!) which I thought was quite clever and a nice touch.

Lunch was pre-ordered for us from a Thai restaurant which was surprisingly good, and then we had some time to walk around and enjoy the town of Apollo Bay. Nicky would tell us how much time we had before we had to be back to the bus, which was nice to be able to plan. Everyone usually returned right on time and it saved the awkward waving and yelling and herding everyone back to the bus.

After Apollo Bay we stopped at the Great Otway National Park’s cool temperate rainforest and had a half an hour walk through while Nicky told us about the huge towering trees.

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Finally we arrived at the 12 Apostles. These were created from limestone and sandstone erosion. They're forever changing and these will one day collapse and new ones will be carved from the shoreline.

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From the 12 Apostles we went to the Loch Ard Gorge and the now collapsed London Bridge.

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London Bridge used to look like this:P3253325.jpg

But has since fallen down to this:
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After that it was a long drive back to Melbourne. We took the inland road which was quicker but we still didn't get back to the city till after 9. We did stop briefly for dinner if people wanted, and a break for the driver. Though wifi is offered on the bus, it is dependent on cell service and I seemed to always time it wrong cause it never worked for me. At least the bus was nicely air-conditioned (or in our case, heated since it was windy and chilly) and I was glad I'd chosen the tour company with the smallest bus. With only 24 people on board, it gave the opportunity to meet and chat with most of the group throughout the tour, with everyone offering to take each others' pictures for them.

I'd certainly recommend Go West Tours, if you're looking for a small company with tours that have a personality and cover a lot of ground. Also, many thanks to Go West Tours for the discounted tour!

Posted by smr1188 14:48 Archived in Australia Tagged beaches victoria great_ocean_road ocean australia coastline Comments (2)

Numbers of Travel

No pictures, just numbers


View Adventures in the Southern Hemisphere, Part 1 on smr1188's travel map.

With my travelling partner headed back to the other side of the world we started looking back at our trip and reminiscing. I've always had a thing for numbers, so why not look at some numbers of the trip so far. As of March 23 we have...

Met 16 Americans

Drank 3 bottles of Whiskey

Been on 5 flights and 8 trains

Rented 4 vehicles...and spent 41 days with a vehicle

Spent 55 days in New Zealand

Spent 85 days in Australia

Visited 4 out of 8 states in Australia

Slept in 11 different beds (in 85 days) in Australia (That's an average of 7.7 nights per place!)

Slept in 32 different beds (in 55 days) in New Zealand (That's an average of 1.7 nights per place!)

Worked 5 different helpx programs

Hung out with 3 cats and 6 dogs

Visited 11 National Parks (6 in New Zealand, 5 in Australia)

And there's nothing like curling up with a favorite show or movie at the end of the day so we watched...
72 Episodes of Psych
35 Episodes of Friends
23 Movies

Oh, and I've taken 8,834 pictures.

Would anyone like to see any other numbers or counts of something?

Posted by smr1188 18:21 Archived in Australia Tagged travel australia new_zealand numbers summary Comments (1)

Walking along the Southern Coast

Great Ocean Road, walking version for the day

There's a famous Great Ocean Road in Australia, which I'll talk more about in the next post, but there is also a Great South West Walk which follows the coastline as well. We took an afternoon and walked just a small portion of it, only around 10km. The following are pictures from that, it was gorgeous!

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Posted by smr1188 15:52 Archived in Australia Tagged victoria great_ocean_road walking hiking australia coastline great_walk Comments (1)

National Parks of Tasmania (3)

Part 3 of 3

I really was going to try to combine Tasmania into one or maybe even two posts, but here I am on the third post! And the third national park, Mount Fields National Park. A commonly missed national park, it's right outside Hobart and relatively easy to get to. It features waterfalls, giant ancient trees, wildlife, and much more!

Standing inside trees...
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We stopped at several different waterfalls, and stayed at one for lunch.
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Gourmet lucnh...P2232455.jpg

These trees were so massive!
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I found one that had been hollowed out by a fire, and, after calling out to all the poisonous things not to kill me, promptly climbed inside!
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We walked around the lake.
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And even made friends with an echidna!
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And of course, it being Australia...there was an awesome warning sign!
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Posted by smr1188 18:34 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls trees wildlife walking hiking australia tasmania national_parks Comments (1)

National Parks of Tasmania (2)

Part 2 of 3

The rest of our time in Tasmania was spend on the East Coast exploring Wineglass Bay and then we headed inland to Mount Fields National Park on our last day. I was going to try to cram two national parks in this entry, but decided to make a third instead...

Wineglass Bay offered the opportunity to hike up to a viewpoint and gaze out at the bay, and then, if you were feeling ambitious (of course we were), to hike down to the bay and relax by the waters.

First we encountered some wildlife in the carpark though!
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Then we headed up the trail, and by trail, of course I mean stairs.

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Finally we reached Wineglass Bay...
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Then we headed down to the water's edge. P2212341.jpg
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While laying on the beach, I kept my eyes on the water and was rewarded in seeing some dolphins swim by!
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Wineglass Bay is very popular with tourists, especially the lookout point, but not many venture down to the sands so that was a good escape!

Posted by smr1188 14:59 Archived in Australia Tagged beaches wildlife walking hiking australia tasmania national_parks roadtrip Comments (2)

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